West Virginia DMV Handbook and Regulations FAQ

If you’re preparing to apply for your West Virginia driver’s license in the near future, then you’ll want to make sure you pick up a copy of the West Virginia Driver’s Handbook at your earliest convenience. Make sure you study it cover to cover, as all of the questions on your written knowledge test will cover information it contains. You may also find the following FAQ helpful for anticipating what you can expect from the application experience on the whole.
How old do I have to be before I’m eligible for a West Virginia driver’s license?
Different states have different age requirements in place, but in West Virginia, you must be at least 15 before you can begin the application process.
What documents will I need to bring with me when I arrive at the DMV to apply for my license?
Before your application will be accepted, you will need to show at least one state-recognized proof of your identity. You will also need to provide proof of your social security number, as well as two proofs of your residency in the state of West Virginia. If you are under the age of 18 at the time of application, you will also need to show proof of your enrollment in the West Virginia school system.
I’m a minor looking to apply for my driver’s license. Do I need to bring my parents with me?
Yes. If you are under the age of 18, you should bring a parent or legal guardian with you when you arrive to apply. They will need to show their consent by signing your application form. They may also be required to show government recognized identification.
Will I be required to pass a physical before I can get my West Virginia driver’s license?
No. Some states require you to pass a physical before you can be cleared for driving privileges, but West Virginia does not. You will, however, be required to take a vision test and receive a passing score. In the event you fail the vision test, you’ll be asked to visit a DMV-approved eye doctor and return with the doctor’s report before your application can continue being processed.
Once I get my permit, what will I need to do before I’ll be allowed to take my DMV road test?
In West Virginia, drivers with learner’s permits that are also under the age of 18 are required to hold their permits for at least 6 months. During that time, they are also required to get at least 50 hours of supervised behind the wheel training with 10 of those hours occurring at night. If you are 18 years of age or older, then you must hold your permit for at least 30 days. Once these requirements are met, you are free to schedule and take your DMV road test any time you feel ready.
What restrictions will I have to obey when driving under my West Virginia learner’s permit?
If you only have your learner’s permit, you are only allowed to drive between 5AM and 10PM. You also must be accompanied by another licensed adult who is a minimum of 21 years of age. Last but not least, you may not drive with any more than two passengers (other than your supervising driver) in your vehicle at any time unless they are immediate family members.
How do the privileges attached to an intermediate driver’s license differ from those of an unrestricted license?
As is the case with many states, West Virginia has a gradated driver’s licensing (GDL) program in place. This means that each new underage driver must progress through a number of different stages on their way to obtaining a full, unrestricted driver’s license. Part of the process involves holding an intermediate driver’s license for a time before obtaining an unrestricted license. Under your intermediate license, you will only be allowed to drive between 5AM and 10PM, just as with your learner’s permit. You also may not carry any passengers (other than immediate family members) under 20 years old for the first 6 months you have your license. After that six months have passed, you must undergo a second six month period during which you may only carry one non-family passenger. An intermediate license does not require you to drive under supervision.
Are there any other requirements I need to meet before I can trade my intermediate license in for an unrestricted license?
Yes. In West Virginia, you need to have held your intermediate driver’s license for a minimum of one year. During that span of time, you also may not have had any traffic violations of any sort. Lastly, you must be at least 17 years of age. Once you’re eligible to move up to an unrestricted license, you must surrender your intermediate license at a DMV field office. You must also pay a fee of $2.50 per year until you reach your 21st birthday.
I’m new to West Virginia. What do I need to know about transferring my out-of-state driver’s privileges?
Once you become a West Virginia resident, you are required to transfer your driver’s license within 30 days of your move. Otherwise, you may be subject to applicable fines and penalties if pulled over. Visit a West Virginia DMV field office with valid proof of your identity, social security number, and residency in the state. You will also need to bring your out-of-state license or a certified copy of your driving record. If you are under the age of 18, you will need to take and pass the West Virginia DMV written knowledge exam. If your license happens to be expired, you can still transfer it. However, you will need to pass the written knowledge exam, a vision test, and a road skills test as well.
How long will my license be valid for?
In West Virginia, all standard driver’s licenses are valid for 5 years. You may renew your license as early as 6 months before the expiration date. However, you must do so in person. West Virginia does not allow mail, phone, or online renewals.
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